It’s census time in Japan! Filling out official forms in Japanese can be very difficult and annoying because of the vast amounts of kanji contained in them. My Japanese teacher asked me to bring it to fill it out during my lesson, unfortunately I spent most of the time telling her that I didn’t understand anything on it.
This post isn’t about me not understanding anything in Japan though, if it was we would be here all day. No, it is about that little cartoon baby in the top left hand corner of this post. His name is Census-kun and he is the official mascot of this 2010 census. Quite how a baby in a nappy with a pen represents a population tally is anyone’s guess but logic was something thrown out of the window a long time ago in Japan.
One word that you learn very quickly when you first come to Japan is the word “kawaii”, it means cute and if you listen to the conversations of just about any group of girls (from 5 years old until about 50) it seems like it is the only word in their lexicon. Just about anything can be “kawaii”, shop fronts, bags, anything by Disney, drains in the road or things that actually are cute.
Due to the fact that everyone loves all things “kawaii” in Japan (hell this is the country that paints Pokémon on the planes of it’s national airline), just about everything that can possibly have a little mascot, does. Very few of them make much sense. Here are a few of my favourites.
Here is Pipo, he is the mascot for the police department. For some reason he is naked expect for a belt. In Japan the policemen DO NOT walk around naked with only a belt on.
This is Peko-chan, she is the mascot for Fujiya sweet company, she is always licking her lips because of all the yummy sweets. You see plastic status of her around a lot and I always used to think there was some kind of strawberry stuck to her face.
This is Colonel Sanders, you know him. Here however, he is dressed as a samurai and Evangelion Unit-01. I don’t know why.
Here is the bunny that is the mascot of NOVA English school, the school kind of has a bad reputation and the bunny is really ugly so I guess they go well with each other.
Finally, here is Prince Pickles, the mascot of the Japanese self defence force. He is probably the only one of these mascots to have been on active service for his country.
As a result of coming into contact with all these cute innocent mascots, I going to develop Mascot-kun. He could be the mascot to represent all these little Japanese mascots. He could take them under his wing when they are young and inexperienced, form a union to protect their rights and then when they get old and forgotten, can run a nursing home for them. Unfortunately I have no picture available of him, he prefers to shun the limelight.